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Surviving the Holidays: 5 Ways Divorced Parents Can Keep Cheer

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season are just around the corner. I can already hear Andy Williams belting out "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” in my head.

And while I do love the holiday season, as a divorced parent it can be an emotional rollercoaster. One minute I am happy, thankful, and busy with my daughter, family, and friends. Next, I may feel frustration, anxiety, and stress.

During the early divorced years, it was just plain tough to enjoy the holidays. I was alone to do all the “fun” holiday prep work and got super stressed making holiday memories with my young daughter. Then there were days when I felt very alone while she was having fun with her dad.

After nearly 12 shared holiday seasons, I have come a long way and figured out a few good tips and tricks to keep more of the cheer, and less of the fear. Consider a few of these tips and let the holidays OWN the Season!

1. Recognize your emotions.

Give yourself time before the holidays arrive to open up about anything you anticipate feeling & get the support you need from a friend, family, your therapist, or a support group.

2. Embrace your “me” time.

Whether you do something that just makes you happy or are determined to knock off a few to-dos, plan for some “me” time activities that keep you feeling engaged, happy, and taking advantage of your free time.

3. Lean more on friends and family.

That’s what good friends and family are for. Let close ones know that you’ll be without your children and welcome some good company during the holidays. The goal is to avoid a last-minute stressful scramble.

4. Start a new tradition.

Whether it is celebrating a holiday on another day like having a Friendsgiving the weekend before your kids are with your co-parent for Thanksgiving or hosting a college football bowl party - keep the holiday season spirit positive by trying something new or putting a twist on a tradition you love.

5. Host a Holiday Party with a Twist.

Create a fun way for you and your friends to expand your social circles. Host a holiday party where everyone invited brings someone others may not know.

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